Led by point guard Jeff Teague, the Atlanta Hawks beat the Washington Wizards, 106-101 Monday night to tie the Eastern Conference semifinals at two games apiece. Teague finished with a team-high 26 points and eight assists as the Hawks found their offensive rhythm early in this game. Atlanta finished with 30 assists and looked like the team that topped the East with 60 wins in the regular season.
The Hawks led 29-26 after the first quarter and pushed the advantage to double-digits, 65-55 at halftime.
Atlanta’s balanced attack was featured in this one: Four players ended up in double-figures and the nine-man rotation scored five points or more.
Center Al Horford had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds plus two steals and two blocked shots while Paul Millsap had 19 points and six assists for the Hawks, which avoided a 3-1 hole in the best-of-seven affair with the series shifting back to Atlanta for Game 5 scheduled for Wednesday.
This was a game when the Wizards finally missed John Wall, who is still out with a wrist injury. Bradley Beal continued his great postseason performance with 34 points, including four 3-pointers, while veteran Paul Pierce had 22 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots for the Wizards, which got little help elsewhere.
While the Hawks were in control for much of the ballgame, the Wizards fought back late in the final quarter and had a chance to steal the victory. Down by seven, 104-97 with more than a minute to go, the Wizards cut it down to three off baskets from Beal and Nene Hilario.
Washington forced a miss in the other end and set-up Pierce for a game tying 3-pointer but the veteran failed to hit the mark as he had in Game 3.
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